"All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that’s more social, more critical, and more real than art." (Dan Graham ----------------------- Abstract: This paper considers ways in which a performed art practices, in the form of contouring and social encounter, all serve as a catalyst for social engagement. The paper will contextualize iterations of performed art practices focusing particularly on varying aspects of gesture as a spatial practice. Citing projects which reimagine neglected sites in order to rediscover a city’s cultural and artistic potential through imaginative transformations, the paper will discuss the relational aspects of art practice and gesture, together with the various means of encounter and speculative enquiry that artists adopt to relate or bring art to everyday encounters. The paper will outline the notion of artistic activity and a more socially engaged practice, as forms of occupation within the field of distribution. Art-as-activism and game playing, dispersal and provocation, ambivalence, uncertainty and delayed closure will be considered in this illustrated lecture on contemporary art. The paper examines ways in which ‘art’s gesture’ within a public space can help to disclose potential breaches in the cultural infrastructure and engage the public with selected issues within society. The paper will establish how such projects are part of a broader tendency highlighting the potential of creative indeterminacy to, push away from ‘art’ and to restore an embodied relationship to the world.
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